1950 Double Esquire Build

PaisleyRocks

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Hey Gil -

Quick question. Judging from the image you posted of your spec sheet, it looks like you were able to get some pretty detailed measurements, etc. Have you been able to track one of the originals down? The most I've ever seen on here has been a single picture.
 

Lostheart

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I'm working on a two-pickup Esquire myself and it's nice to see you go ahead first with the project. ;-)
Since probably noone on this board has had a chance to inspect/play one of those guitars (the only one I know of sits in a museum in California) here's a couple of things I picked up over the years:
A) The very first pine prototypes had bodies that were made out of multiple pieces that were not only glued together to make the blanks wide enough but also to make em thick enough. I once read/heard that it was 6 pieces of pine that made up the bodies.
B) The body was then finished with acrylic lacquer not nitro.
C) The headstocks were a tad bigger/larger on those prototypes.
Can you confirm any of this, Gil?
Anyways...great build as usual.
IMHO the very first black two-pickup Esquire is one of the most iconic guitars ever...
Really looking forward seeing this one getting done!
Cheers,
Sascha
 

Lostheart

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Comparing 2 necks is not enough to establish a statement.
I had quite a few built and almost all of them sounded too muffled.
I also hear the same muffled tone in other instruments (I don't wish to name the brand... but a rather big one it is...). Fender never used QS in the days.

Just saw this when I was checking the thread for an update (hurry up and get to work, Gil!) and I felt I had to add my $ 0.02 on the QS issue...
Most of the non-truss-rod necks that were made warped and were changed out at the factory for one with a truss rod. That's why so few of those non-truss-rod Esquires are still around.
You see a hand-chiseled truss-rod-access on quite a few 1950 bodies and it makes you wonder how many of those started their life as a two-pickup Esquire instead of a Broadcaster.
I really like quartersawn necks for their strength and really like the sound...and I wonder how it would have been if Leo would have used QS maple from the beginning?!? Maybe the truss rod would have made their way into Teles & Strats at a much later point in time?
 

winny pooh

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;) Hey Gil, any reason why you dont like quarter sawn when the almighty Eric Johnson does? I am genuinely interested to hear what your thoughts are on this. I have never actually owned a quarter sawn neck.
 

olaftheholy

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OK, Thanks. Yes, it's our local yellow pine (everywhere you spit in Israel you hit a pine tree)... but I can't see any open grain in it, it looks 100% smooth.
I'm not sure, but I think it's the better sounding one too... isn't it? it supposed to be fuller sounding with better highs as a result of its density. I'm just speculating but I'll definitely try other types as well. I just ordered 5 blanks of feather weight clean white pine and I'll give it a try when it arrives.

You could get away with no pore/grainfilling... it usually needs a little on the endgrain depending on what manner of sawing has been used.
Flatsawn i would'nt bother i think.
Yours appears to flatsawn...

Mine is flatsawn & butcherblocked to stay flat... it's Yellow pine too.
I stained the pine
with "rustins" Yellow pine dye and then applied some 5 coats of shellac sanding sealer with that same dye mixed in to darken it up some.
When that dried, i glasspapered (320 grit) it flat then buffed it with bees/carnauba/parrafin oil mix til smoooooooooooooooth.
Then applied some 7 coats of "orange" shellac (flakes+alcohol) with walnut oil for lube...
Dries ab-so-lu-te-ly rockhard and has a great feel.

I think that Yellow pine is the best sounding pine of all the pine species out there...it has some awesome deep end and nice separated mids & highs (for construction lumber) ;o)
The tele in the video with your pickups in it is also yellowpine...

I'm currently doing a heavy (like HEAVY) relic out of the light swampash body we discussed a while back.
I think it's my last build in 'harder' wood.
Pine i just love and have an abundance of it waiting to be built into guitars...

Geluk vriend!


cheers,
 

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preeb

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Hey Gil -

Quick question. Judging from the image you posted of your spec sheet, it looks like you were able to get some pretty detailed measurements, etc. Have you been able to track one of the originals down? The most I've ever seen on here has been a single picture.

Yes, a couple. Can you actually read the sheet?!? I just took a shot from about 4 feet away with my lousy cell phone camera... (-;
 

preeb

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Thanks Sascha,
See my reply inline bellow...

A) The very first pine prototypes had bodies that were made out of multiple pieces that were not only glued together to make the blanks wide enough but also to make em thick enough. I once read/heard that it was 6 pieces of pine that made up the bodies.
CORRECT
B) The body was then finished with acrylic lacquer not nitro.
1711 Standard black nitro AFAIK but I'll double check
C) The headstocks were a tad bigger/larger on those prototypes.
This is not a prototype really... it was produced, advertised and marketed... Same size headstock as later models
 
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preeb

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Just saw this when I was checking the thread for an update (hurry up and get to work, Gil!) and I felt I had to add my $ 0.02 on the QS issue...
Most of the non-truss-rod necks that were made warped and were changed out at the factory for one with a truss rod. That's why so few of those non-truss-rod Esquires are still around.
You see a hand-chiseled truss-rod-access on quite a few 1950 bodies and it makes you wonder how many of those started their life as a two-pickup Esquire instead of a Broadcaster.
I really like quartersawn necks for their strength and really like the sound...and I wonder how it would have been if Leo would have used QS maple from the beginning?!? Maybe the truss rod would have made their way into Teles & Strats at a much later point in time?

If I may ask, where did you get that info about the warping necks?
I know for a fact that the reason for truss rod installation was not warped necks... I never saw a black Esquire with a replaced neck either. All the nontrussrod ones I've seen had surprisingly healthy necks... but I guess I'll find out soon enough (-;
 

preeb

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;) Hey Gil, any reason why you dont like quarter sawn when the almighty Eric Johnson does? I am genuinely interested to hear what your thoughts are on this. I have never actually owned a quarter sawn neck.

QS is great for rounder sounding maple neck... but I prefer "open" bright sounding maple necks (as expected from maple)... I can't get exactly what I want to hear from QS. The only thing I like about the Eric Johnson model are the pu's... The main reason I didn't like the guitar was... the QS neck. Other than that it's a nice guitar with a nice neck profile...
Another thing is how QS maple looks... no figuring at all... looks like spruce (-;
 

j.b.horns

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Robosanded

04102009091243.jpg

Gil,

Do you ever have any issues with your robosander? I got one a few weeks ago. I've only used it a couple times, and the bearing keeps seizing up. Do you find yourself having to perform maintenance on it? I've taken it apart a couple times, just to have it seize again.
 

preeb

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Due to the technical questions and debates... I wish to make clear:
I don't have all the information on this model. Some minor details are still needed but I'm still going ahead with this model. I'm doing some guess work based on other inspected prototypes from the same era (49-50) and I believe the details will be about the same for this black double Esquire... If you have any valuable info on this model I'll be forever gratefull (-;

I spent a little time today as well on this build. I'm anxious to see how it sounds like...
Tuner ferrule stepped holes on the front are drilled

05102009100648.jpg


Neck transitions are roughly shaped by hand

05102009101431.jpg


Neck is "softened" to final shape on the sander and finally by hand

05102009103432.jpg


Transitions are smoothed

05102009103942.jpg
 

preeb

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Sideways fret installation stop bar in mounted to the table

05102009105101.jpg


Frets are set in the jig like this

05102009110322.jpg


and pressed in like that

05102009110428.jpg


Note I'm using the 7.25" fixture on the 9.5"... it's just fine as long as the fixture is rounder than the board radius...

05102009111900.jpg
 

preeb

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If you ever played an early 50's Esquire then you know that what you see in the following shot is more than just fret beveling (-;

05102009114634.jpg


Slanted edges (YEAH) that is...

05102009115206.jpg


Fret installation is done

05102009115613.jpg
 

preeb

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Bone nut shaved to 1/8"

05102009120000.jpg


Bottom is cut to 9.5" radius

05102009120517.jpg


Headstock is deeply rounded to period correct style

05102009125210.jpg


05102009125221.jpg
 

preeb

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1/16" white fiber sheet is used for the pickguard. It will be lacquered later.

05102009130336.jpg


very slight roundover just to soften the edge a little

05102009133201.jpg


Like that

05102009133354.jpg

1/8" straight mounting screw holes (yes...)

05102009133607.jpg
 

preeb

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A small countersink cut

05102009134343.jpg


Note the size of those holes... I'm not sure it was exactly like that on this model so I used my original Broadcaster guard for reference... probably close enough.

05102009134514.jpg
 

preeb

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As usual, I'll let it "breath" a little before the sealing and finish... Stay tuned.

05102009134614.jpg
 

Lostheart

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If I may ask, where did you get that info about the warping necks?
I know for a fact that the reason for truss rod installation was not warped necks... I never saw a black Esquire with a replaced neck either. All the nontrussrod ones I've seen had surprisingly healthy necks... but I guess I'll find out soon enough (-;

I hope not!
I believe I read about it in Richard Smiths book "Fender: The Sound Heard Around the World" and/or in an ancient issue of Vintage Guitar Gallery.
Both had pics of the black pine Esquire.
I can look it up just to make sure.
That's also where I read the bit about acrylic lacquer.
I also said "prototype" because those first black pine Esquires were not really production line guitars but - as it was mentioned in the article - "test pieces" (horrible name, though) to make musicians aware of Fender and his revolutionary spanish guitar. FAIK the first production line guitars had blonde ash bodies and non-truss-rod necks...
Could take me a little while but when I get to it I'll post what the article said about the pine Esquires...
 




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